Skin Cancer: What you need to know

Tanning industry and Melanoma

Skin cancer is the world's most common form of cancer. If current trends continue about 45% of people who live to the age of 65 are likely to develop some type of skin cancer and in the vast majority of cases the root cause is over-exposure to the sun.

But despite high profile public health campaigns warning of the dangers of potentially lethal ultraviolet light, millions of sun worshippers worldwide are still casting off their clothes and cancer cares to sizzle their skin on annual beach holidays.

And millions more soak up damaging UVA rays from the tanning beds which now lie at the heart of a multi-billion dollar industry spawned from Joe's Public's quest for the bronzed body beautiful.

Skin cancer is on the rise at a time when the incidence of many other forms of cancer is declining. It's a puzzling phenomenon when you consider that both the main cause of this type of cancer and ways to prevent it are widely known.

So are the public health messages not getting through? Are people choosing to ignore them or do they simply not care about developing skin cancer? The answer seems to be a combination of all these factors.

Most people in the developed world these days have some awareness of the danger of over exposure to the sun. They slap on the sun lotion down at the beach and watch out for suspicious looking moles - but that's as far as it goes for many an average sun seeker.

Skin Cancer Facts

But there are some hard facts which seem to be evading the many millions who are quite literally prepared to die in pursuit of a “cover girl” type tan.

• Sun screen lotions alone can't protect you from skin cancer if you fail to take other sensible precautions

• Many skin specialists and health organizations are demanding the outlawing of tanning salons claiming they cause skin cancer

• When malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, spreads from the skin to others parts of the body such as the liver, bones and brain, it's nearly always fatal

• The depletion of the ozone layer in recent years, due to industrial chemicals, has left us more exposed than ever before to the sun's dangerous ultraviolet rays

This site exists to provide independent information on these and other issues related to skin cancer. We hope to encourage unbridled public debate on a killer disease which has set the mega-bucks tanning industry at loggerheads with dermatologists worldwide.

Millions of smokers died of lung cancer before the tobacco industry was forced to carry health warnings on its products. Many health experts say the tanning industry is now being given the same license to kill as the cigarette manufacturers of the 1950s and 60s. Meanwhile many tanning salon owners are telling teenagers that sun beds are actually good for them.

In our personal stories section former sun bed users describe their experience of skin cancer. If you would like to share your views contact us or join our .

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